The New York Times announces the weddings. Phyllis Nefler pits the couples against each other in that weekly battle royale we call Altarcations. This week: Creative class cage match and a Real Housewives cameo.
Is April the prime time of year for the city's supposed lifeblood, its vital creative class, to make legal their love? It would appear that way, based on the number of blithe, buoyant couples with loosely-defined jobs pledging to join their free spirits together forever, whatever and ever.
Perhaps it makes sense that a weekend like this—the last gasp of the "offseason," with its more reasonable rates—would attract people who have, in real life, the sorts of jobs usually found only in romantic ensemble dramedies. Photographers and magazine editors and sommeliers and musicians and theater suppliers? What is this, Rent?
"Last fall, they bought a house together five blocks away from their old summer share in Amagansett."
Oh. Yeah, these are the power creatives. These people actually are the ones in the movies, the characters who make you scoff and say "that was so unrealistic, no one has a job like that and lives in that giant apartment and stops by bikram and the record store in the morning." Or you're like, "wait so what was the deal with that one guy, he technically works for his dad at a pipe fabricator in Queens but actually he owns a wedding photography outfit in the Hamptons? Wouldn't that be nice…"
It would, and so it is for Jonathan Bloom, the groom who just got hitched in Jamaica to Laura Begley, herself the deputy editor of Travel & Leisure magazine. Sounds like a lovely job, but I've got to say, is it like, a diss that the Times did not used the publication's preferred "+" symbol? I'd like to imagine that it's like when you meet a girl who goes by "Z" but her mom still addresses her as "Alexaaaandra."
Anyway, the pair met in the Hamptons, where they were in the same sharehouse but on different weekends, which is the summer equivalent of going to Starbuckeses that are across the street from one another. The first time they finally met, at a bonfire, Bloom was so focused on photographing the beach in the moonlight that the two barely spoke. It was not til the summer's end, after margaritas and tears, that they finally went to Atlantic Avenue Beach together (he carried her bags) and "found out they both collected vintage glasses from each of the 50 states."
Hey, anyone out there used to have one of those state quarter maps? Me neither!
Less is known about the meet-cute story of another magazine staffer, Teen Vogue's Jane Keltner, but we do know this: she married Giancarlo Valle, an architect with a Princeton degree, and their friend Jason Wu designed her wedding dress while Valle designed Wu's New York headquarters. God, I could hear about the resurgance of the barter system all day. She will go by Jane Keltner de Valle, which you have to admit: awesome choice.
Awesome as in "a force field of awesome," which was an actual phrase written into the vows of Kestrin Pantera and Jonathan Grubb. (They also pledged to "build a community" and "throw radical parties.") I'll admit off the bat that this couple completely disarmed me: while the column is outrageous, it is also charming and genuine and very sweet.
The two met at Burning Man—Pantera was dressed as a Jedi knight—and she clearly was enjoying the festival to its fullest:
Ms. Pantera, now also 30, said she imagined a glowing arrow pointing at Mr. Grubb's head. "This is him," she recalled thinking as she mentally listed qualities she wanted in a mate—a list that she had drafted as part of the daily "personal manifesto" that she had been writing for years. In this diary, her partner was both brilliant and creative; a problem solver with a real job who also offered the promise of a large, happy family.
(For what it's worth, Begley had also mentioned "creative" as an important attribute in a man.)
I'd advise you to read the whole thing for some great details about the pair ("Kestrin began playing Jimi Hendrix-style electric cello after revealing that she spoke German and Mandarin and read monetary policy reports just for fun") but there's two things that made this Vows column by Louise Rafkin enjoyable (spoiler alert, I suppose).
The first is a moment when Pantera Googles Grubbs:
His biography was factual, but she was stunned when she discovered this note on a social networking profile: he didn't want children.
Although the two weren't dating, Ms. Pantera said the information felt like a betrayal. "My manifesto-man wanted kids," she said.
Besides making me laugh with how classic that line is, I often have thought about the problems inherent with even casual online stalking—how awkward is it when you accidentally reveal a factoid that you found because you borrowed a friend's login who went to college with that cute guy you met at the party? Ahem, or I mean, how awkward is it when that happens to one of your crazy lady friends, amirite?
Anyway, the story has a happy ending: she gets drunk at a wedding and slurs at him that she wants a family and he'd better be down; he's completely bewildered and has no idea what she means, and it turns out it was just some "test" profile—murky, but I'll let it slide—and of course he wants to manifest all kinds of awesome Jedi babies with her.
And the second thing: Vows always has tricky situations that sometimes crop up (a girl dating her husband before divorcing her last, etc etc) and I bristled a little when this one went so far as to name Grubbs' ex. But the ending was satisfying, and appropriately zen:
[Micki] Krimmel, whom Mr. Grubb left for Ms. Pantera, was also a guest. She also saw the "rightness" of this union. "I want to be involved in their whatever, forever," she said.
Aw, if I were them I would commission someone on Etsy to embroider that into a buckwheat pillow.
Next Saturday, the couple is to have a second ceremony, which will incorporate an Apache prayer along with poems by E. E. Cummings, Khalil Gibran, William Butler Yeats at the vacation home in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, of the bride's mother and stepfather, Elizabeth Barringer and Dr. George Tindall. Bob Weir, the singer and songwriter and former member of the Grateful Dead, who is a friend of the bridegroom and a Universal Life minister, is to lead a ceremony.
I can't even begin. The groom, who is 56 and what sounds like some sort of vague lobbyist, has a stock response to people who comment on the age difference between him and his 26-year old pixie, formerly the assistant sommelier at BLT Steak: "I've had six cars that are older than Katie." I don't know why, but I hear him saying that in Jack Palance's voice.
Other power-creatives this magical weekend (is it a good moon cycle or something?) include Alison Grossman and Gil Baron</a —she is a "freelance television editor and art dealer in Los Angeles" who works on Real Housewives and NYC Prep, and he is a senior creative director at Method Studios—and Rebecca O'Connell and Scott Franco, who met when they were cast opposite one another in a play.
* * *
Of course, the system doesn't reward creative. You want the points, you gotta play by the set of conventional rules. No points for force fields of awesome or 1950's green floral house dresses. Here's this week's Faceoff.
"The couple met at Harvard, from which they both received law degrees, the bridegroom cum laude": +10
The bride is 26 and the groom is 25: +1
The bride graduated summa cum laude (+2) from the University of Pittsburgh (+0): +2
The groom graduated from MIT: +1
The groom's father is a cardiac surgeon and a professor of child surgery at Harvard Medical School: +2
The wedding was at the Harvard Club: +1
The bride "graduated cum laude from Columbia, from which she also received master's degrees in history and public health": +10
The groom "graduated from Columbia, from which he also received an MBA and a Ph.D in history": +11
[we could end there, but I'll continue.]
The bride received a medical degree from New York Medical College and is to begin her fellowship in infectious diseases at Stanford in June: +2
The groom received a master's in history from Queen's University in Ontario: +1
The groom is Mayor Bloomberg's chief environmental advisor as well as the director of long-term planning and sustainability: +2
"The bridegroom is a trustee of St. Stephen's School, a private high school in Rome": +1
"Though the couple spent many years on the Columbia campus, they did not meet until 2002, when they were both on the board of the Columbia College Alumni Association": +2
* * *